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A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

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A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy


Published November 8, 2009


Librivox recording of A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne.
Read by Martin Geeson.

After the bizarre textual antics of "Tristram Shandy", this book would seem to require a literary health warning. Sure enough, it opens in mid-conversation upon a subject never explained; meanders after a fashion through a hundred pages, then fizzles out in mid-sentence - so, a plotless novel lacking a beginning, a middle or an end. Let us say: an exercise in the infinitely comic.

"There is not a secret so aiding to the progress of sociality, as to get master of this short hand, and to be quick in rendering the several turns of looks and limbs with all their inflections and delineations, into plain words."

Sterne calls his fine sensitivity to body language (as we now term it) "translation". Much of the pleasure to be had from this wonderfully engaging book comes from his unmatched ability to extract random details from the chaos of experience to create comic turns imbued with Feeling. His Parson Yorick is the Sentimental Traveller: certainly a Man of Feeling, but one in whom "Nature has so wove her web of kindness, that some threads of love and desire are entangled with the piece..." (Summary by Martin Geeson)

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Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 5:59:45

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Reviews

Reviewer: Philippe Horak - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2009
Subject: Excellent recording and original book
Travel writing beacame the dominant genre of the second half of the 18th century. But Sterne’s novel emphasized personal taste and sentiments at the expense of facts and classical learning. The narrator is the Reverend Mr. Yorick, probably Sterne's alter ego. The book recounts his various adventures, usually of the amorous type, in a series of self-contained episodes.
Very entertaining and witty; extremely well read by Martin Geeson. Many thanks for his performance!
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